Chernihiv Regional Youth Library
Chernihiv Regional Youth Library
Chernihiv region Chernihiv Regional Youth Library

The first building of the Vasyl Tarnavsky Museum of Ukrainian Antiquities, modern library and hub for youth. For 120 years, this place protected Ukrainian history, culture, and spirituality.

Chernihiv region
Official status:
Architectural Monument of local significance
Public building
Date of destruction:
March 2022
Missile attack

Before March 11, 2022.

Few people are aware that the only Ukrainian museum in the Russian Empire was opened in Chernihiv in 1902. The initiator of its foundation was Vasyl Tarnovsky, a patron, collector, and descendant of a noble family. He presented the city of Chernihiv with a unique collection of Ukrainian historical and cultural artefacts from the 17th–19th centuries. In addition, the collection contained Cossack antiquities, as well as manuscripts, works of art, and personal items belonging to Taras Shevchenko, an outstanding Ukrainian poet and artist.
The Museum of Ukrainian Antiquities was founded in the former artisan class at the orphanage. In the late 19th century, this building was reconstructed in the Gothic Revival style, acquiring lancet arches and decoration with pilasters of various shapes resembling columns. In the museum’s most renowned collections were archaeological relics of primitive societies and Kyivan Rus, autographs of famous state and cultural figures, a set of more than 1,500 artistic portraits of prominent historical personalities, rare manuscripts, and incunabula. The section of Cossack antiquities, containing about 1,000 heirlooms, was unique. The organiser of the Tarnovsky collection was Borys Hrinchenko, a well-known Ukrainian author, scholar, educator, compiler of the Ukrainian language dictionary, and public figure.
The Museum of Antiquities soon became the Chernihiv Historical Museum. In 1978, a decision was made to establish the Chernihiv Regional Youth Library here. Vasyl Tarnovskyi’s collection became part of various museums, but the building continued to cherish the memory of the famous patron and his museum, which previously stored priceless relics of the Ukrainian past.

After March 11, 2022.

The museum contributed to the development of Ukrainian culture, the preservation of Ukraine’s history, and the awareness of Ukrainian uniqueness. With a collection of nearly 62 thousand books, the library continued to carry out this vital mission in addition to providing various hubs for youth: a legal information centre, an English club, an art centre and studio, and an environmental academy. Here, young Ukrainians discovered the world, communicated, learned how to be conscious citizens, think critically, and seek their own life goals.
The Chernihiv Regional Youth Library, which had survived Bolshevik attacks in 1918 and 1919 and Nazi bombings during the Second World War, was destroyed by Russian troops on March 11, 2022. They dropped a 500-kilogram high-explosive bomb on the library yard, demolishing the walls and ceilings of the building.
This place has preserved Ukrainian history, culture, and spirit for 120 years. But the site that once held memories has now turned into a memory itself.

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